THE HON CHRIS GALLUS MP
AA 03 004 23 Jan 2003 - Australia has responded swiftly to an official request today from the Government of Fiji for additional relief to help victims of Cyclone Ami.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Chris Gallus said that assessments on the ground have shown that the lack of clean water increases the potential risk of serious outbreaks of diarrhoea, especially among children.
'Two cargo charter flights carrying 5000 collapsible water containers and around 3000 tarpaulins are due to depart Australia for Fiji over the next two to three days,' she said.
'These items are in short supply in Fiji and have been identified by the Fiji Government as urgently required by remote communities affected by the cyclone.
'Australia is also sending an extra 200,000 water purification tablets to Fiji for distribution by the Fiji Red Cross.
'This is in addition to Australia's contribution of $40,000 to the Fiji Red Cross Society appeal announced last week.'
Mrs Gallus said that AusAID also had an emergencies response officer in Fiji to help co-ordinate the relief effort. The Australian chartered helicopter is still being used to distribute relief and medical supplies to affected villages inaccessible by road.
'Since the beginning of January, Australia has committed almost $1 million towards cyclone relief efforts in the Solomon Islands and Fiji,' she said.
Mrs Gallus said these commitments would bring Australia's contribution to Fiji, in response to the cyclone, to about $630,000.
Craig Bildstien (Office of Mrs Gallus)
0407 604 437
Jo Elsom (AusAID) (02) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489